Readorama: J.D. Salinger short story, first published in Kansas City, is back in print

08/29/2014 7:00 AM

08/30/2014 9:13 PM

J.D. Salinger’s Kansas City debut is back in print.

Earlier this year the Devault-Grimes Agency of Memphis, Tenn., published “Three Early Stories” in ebook and paperback formats.

The publisher, which reissues neglected or out-of-print works, found that rights to three Salinger stories, written from 1940 to 1944, were available.

One of them, titled “Go See Eddie,” appeared in 1940 in The University Review, published by what then was the University of Kansas City. It is considered Salinger’s second published story.

The author had no known Kansas City connection. Some scholars today maintain it had been previously rejected by both Esquire and Story magazines.

“Go See Eddie” concerns a young woman whose brother insists, ever more awkwardly, that she visit a friend named Eddie in Chicago who allegedly has a job for her.

The story was considered risqué at the time, said Robert Stewart, editor of New Letters, the literary quarterly today published by the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“It’s a brief story, but it carries that sharp eye for detail, for nuance and personality, that Salinger was so well known for,” Stewart said.

New Letters reprinted the story in 1978. A letter soon arrived from an agent representing Salinger, asking who had obtained permission to reprint the story.

The answer: The entire 1940 issue, including the Salinger story, had been copyrighted, but copyright for “Go See Eddie” never had been transferred to Salinger.

Salinger’s novel “The Catcher in the Rye” appeared in 1951. The Star’s review bore this headline: “Phoniness Gets Teenager Down.”

For more information about “Three Early Stories,” go to devault-gravesagency.weebly.com.

Call for papers

Kansas City’s “Golden Age” may have occurred between 1918 and 1941.

Two area institutions are calling for papers addressing topics — politics, economic development, culture both high and low — that serve that larger theme.

The Kansas City Public Library and the history department at the University of Missouri-Kansas City are seeking the papers, to be presented at a spring 2016 conference. The papers also are intended to be published in an edited volume, and portions may appear in a companion digital project.

The deadline for submitting one-page abstracts is Oct. 17. For more details, go to kclibrary.org and type “call for papers” in the site’s search engine.

To reach Brian Burnes, call 816-234-4120 or send email to bburnes@kcstar.com.

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